Page 328 - ShowSight - November 2019
P. 328

                Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Q & A
 Jennifer Wehking continued
It often comes with co-ownership for new individuals with little control over which direction they proceed with. Those ling time breeders know their line and what to seek out and what to avoid. If you’re not willing to enter a contract like this, a Cavalier may not be where you want to start.
Placing puppies is a challenge all in its own. Sex in the city and Cavaliers featured in adds and movies peak interest in the general market for puppy buyers. Screening potential homes can be chal- lenging at time but worth every minute. Successful, permanent homes is every breeder’s goal. Is the Cavalier the ideal household companion? Cavaliers are among the most versatile of toy dogs. One hundred percent companion, they will mold themselves to their new family’s lifestyle. But all new owners need to understand that the couch potato they’re seeking starts out as a typical puppy with puppy behavior.What about the breed serves them well in the living room and in the show ring? A Cavalier wants nothing more than to be with you—24 hours a day and are very eager to please. So when it’s time for an afternoon soap opera or watching the latest pay per view movie, they’re happy just to be hanging with their peeps. As far as the show ring goes, the same often applies. Happy travel- ing to a show and strutting their stuff. (Some happier than others)
At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? Chutzpah shows in the whelping box! It’s that puppy that’s first to do everything. First up on their feet, first to play, first to climb out and self stack. I find that independent, outgoing puppy makes for a show dog who lives for the ring.
What is it that makes showing dogs all worthwhile? It’s finishing a dog, often from the BBE class, that you produced and earned a championship on its own merit for me.
What is the most important thing about the breed for a novice to keep in mind when judging? It’s any dog on any given day. Hold true to the standard and don’t compromise ethics for instant suc- cess.My ultimate goal for the breed? I would love to see the ability to eradicate our health concerns through science. Our tools for healthy generations increase daily, it seems. But with that being said, I never want to lose what makes a Cavalier, a Cavalier.My favorite dog show memory? Easy peasy, the day GCH CH St Jon Fire And Ice took Best Veteran In Show under Barbara Dempsey Alderman. It was an all breed show where rumor had it that a seven year old, ranked Dalmatian was slated to win!
Cavaliers work their way under your skin and into your blood. Once owned by one, no other breed compares. They are always there when you need them—always ready to please and often sup- port. My dogs were my focus when I was dealing with cancer. I needed to survive because no one would love them as I did. They were my constant companions and emotional support team. The world is a better place because they are in it.
I live in Manhattan and Pound Ridge New York with my many Cavaliers. I breed one to two lit- ters per year and the majority of my dogs are sold to performance homes and companion homes, and occasionally that outstand- ing breed puppy will go to a show home. I raise my puppies until they are 16 weeks old, at which time they are house trained, and have basic obedience training. I believe
a trained dog is a happy dog and I encourage my new dog own- ers to continue in the training of their Cavaliers. They leave my house with videos showing them exactly what I expect.When not raising puppies, training dogs, grooming dogs, showing dogs, either in breed or performance I like to write children’s books using my Cavaliers. I also enjoy sculpting mine and other dogs in various mediums. I have three children and four grandchildren all of whom reside nearby. They also share my same love for Cavaliers, some even have some of my older dogs.I live in Manhattan, I write chil- dren’s books and I sculpt. I also enjoy going to the theatre, watch- ing movies, reading books and spending time in my country home in Pound Ridge. Is the breed’s huge popularity good or bad? I am happy they are 18 and not more popular as that encourages unrepu- table breeders. I am my own breeder and all my puppies are sold by word of mouth so I’ve never had to advertise to sell my puppies and nor would I advertise. Is the Cavalier the ideal household compan- ion? Family fathers often find that the Cavalier is indeed a big little dog that meets all their expectations in terms of hiking, boating, running, frisbee, or any other outdoor activity. Mothers and chil- dren always adore Cavaliers and need no introduction to them. The Cavalier can fit into almost any situation. They have wonderful out- going temperaments and are adored by children, adults and other furry friends.What about the breed serves them well in the living room and in the show ring? In the living room the Cavalier can be a couch potato, an excellent TV companion and/or interact in a game of fetch. In the ring the Cavalier should be a proud well mannered happy dog, always attentive to its owner/ handler with a wonderful, waggy tail. He should also be receptive to the judge while being examined on the table as well as gating back to the judge in the ring.
At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? At six months I am able to determine whether a puppy is ready for the show ring or would prefer agility, obedience, or companionship/ therapy dog. This is all based on their temperaments which I have observed over the six month period.
What is it that makes showing dogs all worthwhile? When you have a Cavalier that loves the show ring and is your teammate the showring is one place that I find very exciting. When I have a good dog on the end of my lead who is happy to be there and show off then I am pleased with a feeling of satisfaction.
What is the most important thing about the breed for a novice to keep in mind when judging? Structure and temperament.
My ultimate goal for the breed is to keep to the breed standard as written. Always keeping in mind the importance of correct tem- perament, structure and good health. Unfortunately at this time I am finding many Cavaliers that are not meeting the breed stan- dard especially in terms of leg length and ear set. I am hoping that breeders will breed to the breed standard and not to the “popular dog” that is incorrect but winning.My favorite dog show memory was my first best in show in the Langley Kennel Club in 1999 in Williamsburg, Virginia.
The most important thing I want to keep is the breed as it is with all its attributes as a small sporting dog with many capabilities, such as companion dog, agility dog, therapy dog, obedience dog, scent hurdle dog, barn hunting dog, lure coursing dog, scent work dog, as well as the outdoor activities in which they excel, hiking, boating, frisbee, etc. In short, the Cavalier is a very well rounded small dog companion. I like to place my older bitches in forever homes where they make their new owners proud as companion or therapy dogs.
  326 • ShowSight Magazine, noveMber 2019

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